Tesla Powerwall Long-Term Review

MAY 24 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 25

Tesla Powerwall

Tesla Powerwall

Nick Pfitzner goes down in history as the first person in Australia to buy a Tesla Powerwall. He is not surprised by this status, since he is a self-proclaimed Tesla fanboy. After the first year, Nick is beyond impressed with the results.

Tesla Powerwall 2.0

Tesla Powerwall 2.0

Nick had been paying an average of $572 per quarter in 2015 (AUD). In 2016, his quarterly bill average dropped to $45.

One quarter, he actually got a check for $50, for his system’s contribution to the grid. Nick paid $2,289 in total for 2015. His 2016 energy bill totaled $178.71. An entire year of electricity for under $200 – a 92 percent savings.

Doing the math tells Nick that his purchase will pay for itself in about eight years. The system cost him $16,790 (AUD) and includes a 7 kWh battery, a 5 kWp solar array, a SolarEdge inverter, and a Reposit monitoring system. This system more-than-adequately powers his large four-bedroom home in New South Wales. Nick shared:

“Before I crunched the numbers I was looking at what would be my return on investment. If it saved me 80% of my power bill, it would be pretty good. I really learned a lot about myself and how my house uses energy and how we can improve with solar now.”

Nick generally pays 8 cent per kilowatt-hour, however, his decision to add the Reposit monitoring system will bump that up to $1 per kWh at peak times. It cost him $800 to add the extra monitor, but in the end, the kickback checks will more than pay for it and will keep his savings greater overall. Nick explained:

“The (Tesla Powerwall) system will power whatever the house needs first as a priority, then it will fill the battery as a second priority and then anything over it’ll export. The aim is to try and export about three times of what I import because my electricity cost is about three times [as much]. So when we had that really hot weather last week, what happened is, there’s a peak event on the network and [electricity companies] asked batteries to start dispatching power, so it’s kind of like a little power station if you like.”

Although Nick was the first, 6,500 other OZ citizens added solar in 2016 and the country anticipates that number to triple for 2017. This is due in part to decreasing prices, which will continue to plummet with the advancing construction of the Tesla Gigafactory. Increased competition and greater supply also impact pricing positively.

Warwick Johnston, founder of Australia’s first home battery auditing and consulting firm, SunWiz, notes Tesla as the reason for awareness, but he doesn’t endorse the company as the best. He said:

“It (Tesla) is at the forefront of many people’s minds because of that brand positioning. A lot of people look at what else is available and identify there are other products out there that have more favourable advantages than Tesla.”

He closed with some words of advice:

“When you’re buying a new solar array alongside your battery system, then you can get a 10 year payback. If you have above average electricity consumption, you can do it. But if you want to retrofit a battery to an existing array, then you’re unlikely to get a ten year payback on just the battery alone.”

Source: Choice

Categories: Tesla

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25 Comments on "Tesla Powerwall Long-Term Review"

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Alaa

I think 10 years pay back time is too long.
The price of solar panels is dropping. $400 / kW is average. So 3 kW is $1,200.
Batteries can be put together from a salvaged EV like a Leaf. For very little money. Inverters are dirt cheap. $100 per kW.
The Powerwall 2 is very good value for money. An all in one solution. But it will never take 10 years for a pay back time. 3 might be too much too.

Vexar

Where are you sourcing those solar panels and at what volume?

Alaa
needa

That price landed in the USA is pretty much by the pallet, and you will be getting B grade panels at best. Then you have to ship, and install. Prices will probably never really go down for the end consumer that pays to have them installed. As the price of labor and the costs of running a business are constantly going up.

Brian

10k for a Installed Solar System thats 5kW AND installing the PW is actually pretty good… Can you buy discount panels and put them up yourself? sure, I can also buy a base VW Jetta instead of a loaded Ford for a pretty good savings. They’re both cars right?

Tom

The actual price is several times what you are quoting. Panels != price. Installation, wiring, inspection, etc etc even if for some reason you could buy panels for that ridiculous price. Wholesale bulk rate cell costs != panel costs. This source says average price even after federal tax credits is going to run you $2.50/watt. So your 3KW is going to be $7500. At 10 cents per KWH (that’s what I pay) that would be 75,000 KWH not counting interest. You have to count interest whether you borrow the money or not because even if you don’t borrow the money, the time value of the money used and therefore lost interest gained on investment is still not negligible. But even with that if somehow you averaged 20kwh per day over the year of winter, summer, cloudy, sunny, then you are at 10 plus years.
http://news.energysage.com/how-much-does-the-average-solar-panel-installation-cost-in-the-u-s/

Alaa

Your numbers are correct for the US. $2.5 is too much though. You are being taken for a ride here. I am in Cairo Egypt and I did it myself a few years ago. Shop around.

Tom

The article I linked to clearly states the average cost is $3.36. My $2.50 is being generous and taking off tax benefits. That doesn’t seem like ‘taken for a ride’ to me. ‘Do it yourself’ is a stupid suggestion for virtually everyone in the US and effectively everyone will have some unavoidable fixed costs such as licensing, inspections, the utility will almost certainly have a rather specific process that needs to get followed if said house is not 100% off grid. Building codes, etc etc. Little things like laws and safety and licensing.

Beau

FYI Tessa gigafactory on the science channel 5/25 at 9 eastern

Pushmi-Pullyu

Thanks for the tip! (And I love our DVR!)

ffbj

Cool, tks.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

+1
Thanks for the reminder!

Kent

The total system cost $16,790? Are there tax credits involved? Swell Energy quoted me $12,628 just for the Powerwall 2 fully installed (no solar array). What am I missing? Or are things just so much cheaper in the land of OZ?

Brian

Are they building a special room for the PW? how in the world did they come up with a total of 12k besides going “this sucker has money… lets up the price”.

Kent

Isn’t the Powerall around $6K retail? Plus tax, installation, permits, etc. Also, I’m in the CA Bay Area and everything is more expensive here. If you think $12K (actually closer to $13K) is too much, please explain why.

ModernMarvelFan

Because there is also a 5kW solar system plus an inverter that goes with it…

5kW solar system will cost at least $13K to install by itself in the SF Bay Area.

Kent

Have solar systems gotten that cheap?? I installed my 5.1kw system in 2005 and it was $26K (after all tax credits). This was the cheapest of five quotes I received at the time.

Mark.ca

I got a 5.5kw system for 14k (LA) after credits so they did get cheaper. I had a quote for powerwall2 at $12600 which is fricking nuts.

needa

So where is the long term review of the PowerWall? We got a review of his electricity costs and not much else.
What peak amps is he pulling at night? How much capacity is left in the batts?

Fabian

Show me a long term review of someone who ADDED a PW to their current solar array and compare THOSE numbers.

This example above of cost savings is skewed because he installed solar at the same time.

We all want to know if a PW is worth it. I say not for the current price vs battery size. Give me a salvaged Leaf battery or bigger, for 10k, and now we’re talking.

unlucky

I found the statement in the article that it’ll never pay back if you add it later but it will if you install it at the same time to be strange. I strongly suspect (as you do) that the person is counting the solar payback as powerwall payback.

I’ve run my own numbers and a powerwall would be a huge money loser for me right now. This is only my particular case though. This will change as the utility changes the time-of-use tariff to make my excess generated solar less valuable though. At that point it’ll make sense to store it and use it myself later.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“This example above of cost savings is skewed because he installed solar at the same time.”

It’s a very skewed cost analysis. He’s including lots of things such as net metering rates which obviously won’t apply to people outside his area.

It’s an interesting anecdote of one person’s experience, one person who lives in an area with very favorable net metering rates, but calling this a “long term review” is mis-labeling.

Bill Howland

The only way I see these things as becoming popular in NY State is when the 1% threshold for Net-metering customers is reached. (Utilities won’t provide new Net-Metering beyond this, and those that currently have NM cannot install batteries – per state law).

But those who CAN’T GET Net metering anymore CAN install batteries. I’d think those people would install these systems, or other competing ones.

ModernMarvelFan

8 years just to break even is way too long. The battery warranty is barely 10 years and nobody knows how well those “highly cycled” battery would last beyond 10 years.

The opportunity cost of the money isn’t included in the calculation.

I am itching to add battery backup to my solar panels, but the numbers just don’t work out yet, even in the SF Bay Area.

wavelet

Given the source website is Australian, I believe the prices given in the article are in Australian $ (AUD$1 == US$~0.75).
I’ve asked this before and ask again: This is an international website — at the very least please always specify the currency units you’re using, and, even better, give both original and converted-to-US$ numbers.

Also, the total installed system cost seems a bit low… It would be nice to verify that the calculation includes the labor for the installation and any one-time licensing costs, not just the components.